A license suspension may occur for a variety of reasons and cause unexpected transport difficulties. As a result, a person may attempt to drive a vehicle without a license. If a person is pulled over or becomes involved in an accident, they may face substantial legal penalties. Someone who has been accused of operating their vehicle with a suspended license should contact an experienced Prince William County driving with a suspended license lawyer.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, a skilled traffic attorney could advocate on your behalf. Call today and schedule an appointment to start discussing your potential legal options.
In Prince William County, driving while your license is suspended or revoked is a more serious offense than unlicensed driving. “Driving while suspended” is the most common shorthand for this charge, and it further applies to situations where the person’s entire privilege to drive in the Prince William County has been suspended – whether or not the person has ever had a Virginia license.
This offense also requires that a person is actually driving a motor vehicle as opposed to just operating a stationary vehicle, and that person was driving the motor vehicle on a public highway. Another element of the offense is that the person has received sufficient prior notice that their license has been suspended for a specified period of time.
Driving while suspended or revoked is treated noticeably more seriously in Virginia generally, and in Prince William County specifically, than unlicensed driving or driving without a license in possession. It is a higher level of offense that can trigger mandatory jail time for repeat offenders, and more concerning of an offense to law enforcement and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) depending on why the person’s license was previously suspended or revoked in the first place.
In Prince William County, driving while suspended or revoked requires proof beyond reasonable doubt that:
Driving while suspended or revoked is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia which means it is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2,500 fine, and a new period of suspension or revocation that is equal to the previous period of suspension or revocation.
Driving while revoked because of a DUI conviction or a refusal to submit to an alcohol breath test can be elevated to a Class 6 Felony if committed three or more times, which is then punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
A third or subsequent offense of driving while suspended within 10 years of any other driving while suspended conviction will typically require the court to impose at least 10 days of mandatory minimum jail time upon conviction.
The most important factor in a driving while suspended case is whether the accused has fixed the suspension of their license before their final court date. If they are able to do so, the case will often end in a reduction of the charge or potentially a dismissal. If someone is not able to fix their license during their case and wants to dispute the charge, the most viable defense generally will usually target whether the accused was given sufficient legal notice of the suspension before being pulled over.
However, there are a number of other defense strategies that may sometimes apply to a driving while suspended case, including challenging the constitutionality of why the police pulled the person over. A person may also challenge the boundaries or terms of the suspension itself.
If the charge is not a third or subsequent offense or DUI related, the accused may have a lesser risk of incurring jail time. However, suspended jail time is sometimes imposed for second offenses, in addition to fines and new periods of license suspensions following the suspension period at issue. Demerit points with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles are also assessed.
If you were accused of driving on a suspended license, consider speaking with an adept Prince William County driving with a suspended license lawyer. They could evaluate the factors of the allegation and work to formulate a credible defense. Call today and set up an appointment to review potentially effective legal strategies.
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